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Eatontown Fort Monmouth Proposal Includes Housing, Hotel, Dine-In Theater

EATONTOWN: A massive redevelopment project in the borough's section of the former Fort Monmouth is coming closer to fruition.

Fort Monmouth Parcel B Redevelopment LLC, an affiliate of Paramount Realty, located in Lakewood, signed an Exclusive Negotiations Agreement with the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) earlier this year for the redevelopment of Parcel B. The parcel fronts Route 35 near the main gate and currently contains 89 acres with 13 buildings that will be demolished to make way for future development.

The development, called Freedom Pointe, has already been "given the commitments from the very best restaurants, retailers, and service providers in the country," according to a release from Paramount Realty.

Paramount Realty President Maurice Zekaria said in the release that Freedom Pointe will be a mixed-use lifestyle destination that will feature brand-name fashion retailers, full-service destination restaurants, 302 townhomes, a modern national hotel, second floor office space, an upscale dine-in theatre, a bowling concept, and an indoor golf center. It will also have several "fitness-related concepts" and e-retailers who have "already signed up" to show off their products in a storefront setting

"We want this to become a second home that people can go to and re-energize before and after work, and on weekends and holidays - to spend quality time with their families and enjoy a memorable experience," Zekaria said. " We will create an environment that gives people an opportunity to explore."

The site plan will include an ice skating rink, open lawn areas for shows, concerts, exercise classes, seasonal community and holiday events including a Christmas tree lighting. Jogging and bike trails, a high-end playground, a spray park for kids, miniature golf, pop jets, bocce, street performers, and movie nights will be held in the summer. The concept also includes public space with a park with smaller pocket parks.

"Our focus is to make this development the main hub for the community year-round," Zekaria said. "We are also in talks with many local sporting travel leagues to become a destination for the visiting teams' families before and after the games."

Zekaria compared Freedom Pointe to similar projects around the county such as Crocker Park in Cleveland, OH, Easton Town Center in Columbus, OH, MarketPlace at Lynnfield in Lynnfield, MA, The Point in El Segundo, CA, and the Village at Topanga in Woodland Hills, CA. All of these projects are mixed-use with residential and office components in addition to the retail/entertainment/dining uses.

Technology and new innovation will be a driving force at Freedom Point and Zekaria noted the following amenities that are planned for the development:

• Exotic cars will be displayed throughout the wide sidewalks.

• Ticketless valet-parking will be offered.

• A virtual concierge service, whereby shoppers will not have to hold bags anymore and carry them around to each store while attending to children.

• Competing with same-day delivery services like Amazon, Paramount has partnered up with an Uber-type service which will deliver all bags to homes the same day.

• Alert Technology which will notify shoppers of "specials" as they walk by a particular store.

• LED light poles with a camera system which will gather data and help with security, center cleanliness, and traffic.

• Heated floors in certain sections of the site to alleviate snow issues and allow people to eat outdoors in the cold winter months.

• A trolley specifically for the kids and seniors to tour the entire Fort.

• A shuttle bus which is proposed to connect all aspects of the Fort, Little Silver train station, and Little Silver Tennis Club.

• Existing fiber optic technology will be used to supply Wifi throughout Parcel B.

• Multiple water features which will mimic the Bellagio water theme in Vegas.

• Paramount has also secured a deal with a car-wash service which will clean cars as people shop, dine, or watch a movie.

• Electronic vehicle charge stations and electronic bike racks to secure bikes.

• Interactive video walls/boards/directories.

• Within the wide landscaped sidewalks, seating areas with music will be featured along with public art, life size chess, and kiosks for local start-ups to test their new concepts.

• Lastly, unique tall glass storefronts for each tenant will provide sight-lines into shops, restaurants, and lobbies during the day and especially at night.

"With the emergence of e-commerce, people today expect, require, and deserve more," Zekaria said. "They are social by nature. Today it's all about having fun through sharing stories and moments online through social media. Experience will constantly be reinforced at every level on the property.

The developer has not yet signed a purchase and sale agreement with FMERA, but that could come in the next few months after the land where Parcel B currently sits is officially owned by FMERA.

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